Belfast Telegraph

Community centre attacked on Twelfth back in business again

By Nevin Farrell

Services in a community centre that was petrol bombed on the Twelfth are back up and running thanks to its dedicated workers.

Newtownabbey Alliance councillor John Blair praised staff and volunteers for their hard work to get the Dunanney Centre in Rathcoole operational again after vandals set the building on fire and smashed windows.

A roof came down and there was severe damage to one part of the building, which sustained smoke damage throughout. Despite the major damage, parts of the centre are already back in business.

Mr Blair said the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) operates on the first floor and it was back helping to provide vital services.

He is a former chair of the CAB and he praised the "absolute determination" of staff to clean up.

"Being able to deliver these vital services so quickly shows their commitment and dedication to the community. This petrol bomb attack was an attack on the entire community," said Mr Blair, who appealed for anyone with information to get in touch with police.

It is not believed the attack was sectarian, and is believed to have emanated from the local community.

Pat Hutchinson (64), chair of the Dunanney Centre – which sees 200 people visitors each day – vowed: "We will not let anyone stop us from providing our services."

Staff said they did not know why they were targeted but said it was the third incident in as many months.

Up to £40,000 of damage was caused when a heating system was deliberately set on fire in April and they have been without heat ever since.

And in recent weeks a UDA flag was pinned to the outside of the building.

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